HE’S ON FIRE – DeMARCUS COUSINS
The nine-game slate of NBA games Friday night features both Harden and Westbrook in action, and, if they are too expensive for your taste, there are plenty of other players you can decide to build around instead. Here are a few names to consider at every position, from every price range.
Russell Westbrook vs. MEM ($11,500) – Last time the Thunder faced Memphis, Westbrook led the game in points, rebounds and assists as he logged a 24-13-12 triple double. In the first meeting of the year, he was ejected in a big OKC loss, but he scored 21 points in 23 minutes before he left. His floor is as steady as anyone’s, and he has his normal huge upside here despite the tough matchup on paper.
Kyle Lowry @ ORL ($8,900) – With Isaiah Thomas seeing a price bump and DeMar DeRozan still possibly out, Lowry at this price presents some nice upside. He’s now scored 29 or more points in five straight games as he takes on even more of a scoring load with his normal backcourt running mate missing time. If DeRozan comes back, Lowry’s floor drops enough that I might consider moving off him in cash game contests.
Other Options – Isaiah Thomas ($10,000), Eric Bledsoe ($8,800)
Yogi Ferrel @ POR ($5,100) – Deron Williams is still listed as questionable, so you have to keep an eye on that, but it is hard to see why Dallas would limit the opportunities for their new point guard. The 23-year-old is averaging 13 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds with a pair of steals in his three starts, all wins. He’s gotten you at least 25 fantasy points in every game and showed some upside with 19 points (for 38.25 fantasy points) in the upset of the Cavs earlier in the week.
Other Options – Malcolm Brogdon ($4,700)
James Harden vs. CHI ($12,500) – He had two games this week where he scored in the thirties in terms of fantasy points, which is devastating to your lineup at this price. But those games were sandwiched between 97.75 and 71.5 fantasy point explosions. In other words, he is someone I consider every night in at least one GPP lineup, even if I want to shy away from the price tag for a cash game squads.
Dwyane Wade @ HOU ($7,000) – He has played two very solid all-around games this week, averaging 16-7-6 with a pair of steals against Philly and OKC. In a game against Houston where Chicago is going to need scoring, I could see Wade getting an uptick in looks compared to his season average. If he can pair that with the same kinds of stats in other categories, he could be a great upside play in this one, for any format.
Other Options – Jimmy Butler ($9,000), C.J. McCollum ($7,200)
Victor Oladipo vs. MEM ($5,200) – Prior to the blowout loss to Chicago on Wednesday, Oladipo had been on a nice run, scoring 29 or more fantasy points in six straight (30+ in five of those). At this price, that kind of production makes him an option in any format.
Other Options – Matthew Dellavedova ($4,100)
Giannis Antetokounmpo @ DEN ($10,300) – He has been going through a bit of a down stretch lately, which might keep his ownership low, but playing in Denver, the Bucks could see more volume than usual. If the Nuggets are capable of keeping the pace to their liking, for Giannis, it’s not just his points that get a bump – he could end up with a couple of steals and blocks and increased assists and rebounds, making him a nice upside option.
Paul George @ BKN ($8,100) – In two previous meetings this year, George scored 22 and 26 points, and in the game in Brooklyn, he pulled down 9 rebounds as well. This matchup should give him plenty of opportunities to stuff the stat sheet in ways outside of just scoring, and before Monday’s game, he had scored 30+ points in four straight. If he can combine those two trends he could provide solid upside in a GPP contest tonight.
Other Options – Jabari Parker ($7,300)
P.J. Tucker @ SAC ($4,400) – He has had 30 or more fantasy points in three of his last five games, but he walks a thin line, averaging just double-digits in scoring, even over a a nice little stretch. He fills in with some of everything else, so I am looking for 12-15 points combined with the peripheral stats, which gets him to that 30+ fantasy point plateau, making him someone I would consider for a GPP lineup.
Other Options – Jae Crowder ($6,200), Wilson Chandler ($5,700)
DeMarcus Cousins vs. PHO ($10,900) – Against these Suns, he has as much upside as anyone on the board, and I could easily see him end up with 30+ points and 15+ boards to go along with whatever other contributions he makes. Prior to a 22-point loss to Houston last time out, he had been on a run of nine straight double-doubles, a threshold he should easily return to tonight, making him a nice option in cash games as well as GPPs.
Karl-Anthony Towns @ DET ($9,900) – Over his last six games, he is averaging 30 points and 11 rebounds, a stretch in which he has scored 54.0 or more fantasy points in all but one game. He is facing a tough test against Drummond and Detroit, but his last outburst was against the Cavs, and he has faced some other stout individual defenders over the stretch as well. He provides a set of challenges for any defender, and I think his usage right now makes him an option worth considering in any format.
Other Options – Jabari Parker ($7,300), Serge Ibaka ($6,200)
Tarik Black @ BOS ($3,200) – Julius Randle “returned” from a bout with pneumonia last night, but played only six minutes, and it is hard to imagine his energy level changing too much on the second night of the back-to-back. That leaves Black with at least one more opportunity to provide some value against a Boston team that struggles to limit the fantasy production of interior players. Black has 19.0 and 28.25 fantasy points in his last two outings, getting more than his usual share of minutes, and he could get back to that point tonight, which would make him a fantastic value at this price.
Other Options – Dirk Nowitzki ($5,200), Trevor Booker ($4,600)
Andre Drummond vs. MIN ($7,900) – As great as Towns has been playing, the Minnesota interior defense as a whole isn’t really equipped to consistently contain someone like Drummond, who had 22 points and 22 rebounds against them last time they faced each other. Even if Towns has improved enough to make his mark on offense, Drummond is the most imposing person in the middle in this game, and should be able to put up similarly solid scoring and rebounding numbers tonight, making him a nice value at the price.
Al Horford vs. LAL ($6,800) – I think Horford is a great fit for a cash game lineup as he is the one real staple in the Celtics’ frontcourt. He is between 32-39 fantasy points consistently, and I think he can get there tonight against a vulnerable Lakers’ front made even weaker if Randle isn’t at full strength.
Other Options – Myles Turner ($6,900)
Clint Capela vs. CHI ($4,700) – His minutes can fluctuate depending on the type of game plan the Rockets are employing, but his skill set seems to be a good fit for this matchup with Chicago. He is coming off a game against Atlanta where he shot 9-for-11 from the floor to finish with 22 points and nine boards, and he now has 25 or more fantasy points in four of his last five. He has legit double-double potential, making him a good fit in any format at this price.
Other Options – Tyson Chandler ($5,300), Robin Lopez ($4,200)
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theasquad) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.